Discipline, hard work secrets of Oshonaike’s long reign in tennis, says former coach
Former Head Coach of the Lagos State Table Tennis Association, Mr. Olasumbo Dele, has expressed happiness over Funke Oshonaike’s feat at the just concluded ITTF African Senior Championships in Agadir, Morocco, describing it as unprecedented.
Oshonaike brought her experience to bear at the weekend when she defeated Egypt’s Dina Meshref 4-2 in the final of the women’s singles to reclaim the African Women singles crown.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Dele attributed Oshonaike’s long reign in the game to discipline and hard work, describing the champion as a very serious person, who gives table tennis a lot of concentration.
“I was the one that discovered her when she was just eight years old in school. One thing I like about her is that she is very respectful. Her good behaviour worked for her, as that really appealed to me and made me to work with her.
“She is a very disciplined lady, she was ready to learn on whatever instructions given to her. That is what differentiates her from the rest. What she has just achieved in Morocco is about the hallmark of hard work, dedication and most of all self-discipline,” he said.
On Oshonaike’s dominance of the game in Nigeria more than 25 years after her debut, the six-time winner of the Asoju-Oba Table Tennis Championship said: “The reason we have not had replacements for the likes of Oshonaike, Segun Toriola and Aruna Quadri is because some of the upcoming table tennis players are only in the game for monetary reasons. What these other players refused to learn is that fame comes before money.
“None of these other players are ready to learn, and most of them are not disciplined. These players need to copy from the likes of Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri and Oshonaike for them to attain stardom in the game. They really have to work on themselves, may be they should be reminded that Toriola and Oshonaike have stayed long in the game and need others to replace them when the call it quit.”